Brazil’s rich ecological diversity fosters an abundance of incredible wildlife, including thousands of rare and wonderful birds. The Amazon rainforest harbors the highest concentration of bird species, many that have evolved vibrant plumage and fascinating behavior patterns. Other regions throughout Brazil contain several species endemic to the area, a factor that has spurred various conservation projects. We explore 15 Brazilian bird species that you’ll want to see and show you where to find them.
This small owl lives in burrows that it has either dug out itself or taken over from tortoises or ground squirrels. One of their most notable behavior patterns is to decorate the outside of their burrows with bottle tops, pieces of scrap paper, metal foil, cigarette butts or other rubbish, which experts believe is a way of showing that their burrows are occupied. They can be found in the south of Brazil and there is a family of wild burrowing owls that live in the Olympic golf course in Rio de Janeiro.
The male amazon kingfisher is most notable for its oily green plumage, white neck and deep bronze chest. They live around the lake shores and large, slow-flowing rivers of Brazil, where they catch their prey of freshwater crustaceans and fish. They can be found all over Brazil.
The largest parrot in the world, the hyacinth macaw is also one of the most striking with its deep blue plumage, yellow orbital ring and yellow stripe at the base of the lower mandible. It eats fruits from a select number of palm trees which are concentrated in the north and south central of Brazil, most notably in the Pantanal. The hyacinth macaw is classified as endangered due to the cage bird trade and habitat loss.
As is the case with many bird species, it is the males with the most distinguished plumage. Their black backs starkly contrast with their white bellies, the look completed with a tuft of white feathers under their beaks resembling a Santa Claus beard. The males gather at communal points during the mating season, jumping from the tops of vegetation to the ground whilst snapping their wings together, whirring and calling out, all in an attempt to attract a female. The white-bearded manakin can be found all throughout Brazil.
The toco toucan is one of the most recognizable birds in Brazil with its distinct black plumage, white bib and large, multi-colored bill. It is the largest of the toucan species, its comical look capturing global popularity. It prefers to live on the forest edges rather than inside the forest and can be found in the central and southern parts of Brazil.
The greater rhea is the largest bird in South America and has settled in central Brazil and in various national parks, including Chapada dos Veadeiros. It is a flightless bird and prefers living in open areas in flocks of between 10 to 100 for extra protection from predators.
Found in the south of Brazil, the southern screamer earned its name from the sounds it makes to attract a partner during the mating season; loud calls from both sexes can be heard up to two miles away. One of the most interesting facts about the southern screamer is that once it finds a mate, it remains in a monogamous relationship for its lifetime, which is estimated up to 15 years.
The jandaya parakeet is a small, highly-intelligent parrot that is easy to identify by its vibrant, colorful plumage. It has green wings and tail, a deep orange body, a yellow neck and head, and a black beak. Its beauty and eagerness to mimic words and phrases have made it a popular pet. Being a social bird, it can be seen in large, chattering flocks in lowland deciduous woodlands and palm groves in the northeast of Brazil.
This gorgeous bird occupies the eastern-central and southern parts of Brazil as well as the Pantanal and the southeastern region of the Amazon basin. Despite this broad habitat, the species is classified as vulnerable due to hunting and habitat destruction reducing the total population. The bare-faced curassow has a notable crest on its head that looks like a curly mohawk and distinguishes between the sexes – the males have black crests while the females have a white crest.
The scarlet macaw is one of the most popular parrots and most recognizable thanks to its bright red, yellow and blue plumage. It favors humid, evergreen forests and can be found in several areas of Brazil, including the Buraco das Araras, a deep earth depression in Bonito.
The Brazilian ruby is a fairly common species of hummingbird and can be found in the east of Brazil in gardens, parks and at the edges of forests. It can be seen hovering around bird feeders that people leave out on their windowsills. The males give the species its name thanks to the highly iridescent ruby-colored patch on their throats.
Beautiful by name, beautiful by nature, this tiny hummingbird is striking with its bright green upper body and a deep black mask across its face. It can be found all across Brazil, especially in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. Its population numbers are in decline due to habitat destruction yet it is still classified as a common bird.
The chestnut-eared aracari is a member of the toucan and the aracari family. It is easily identifiable by its bright yellow and red breast and the chestnut-colored streak on its head. It can be found in the Pantanal, the South Amazon basin and in the extreme southeast of Brazil.
The yellow-faced parrot, or the yellow-faced amazon as it is sometimes referred to, can be spotted in the Cerrado region of Brazil, including the Emas National Park. It nests in hollows in termite mounds and feeds on seeds and fruits. Its population is in decline due to habitat loss.
The violet-capped woodnymph is a species of hummingbird that earned its name from the violet cap on the males heads. They are often found in the southeast of Brazil, especially favoring forests, dense woodlands, gardens and parks. Their population numbers are stable and they are considered a common bird within their habitats.